Neil Howard Stages Rally Oulton Park

The 2021 British Rally Championship finally got underway at a gloriously sunny Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday (31st May).

The Neil Howard Stages usually runs as part of the MSV Circuit Rally Championship in November, but having been twice postponed from its original date, took place under clear blue skies and baking hot sunshine. With forest rallying also off the cards due to Covid-19, the event also became the opening round of this year’s British Rally Championship.

A bumper entry of 151 cars lined up for the start of Special Stage 1, with the BRC runners in their spectacular 4-wheel drive machines at the head of the field.

Following 9 stages of action, including the rare site of cars running the wrong way around Oulton Park, the Ford Fiesta R2 pairing of Sam Moffat and Keith Moriarty took the British Rally Championship win, finishing just one second ahead of Rhys Yates and James Morgan. Ossian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan completed the BRC podium in their immaculate VW Polo GTI R5.

Amongst the club level runners, first in Class E2 for 4-wheel drive machines went to the Fiesta R5 mounted crew of Mark Kelly and Neil Colman, who finished 5th in the overall rally standings.

With this event being postponed from 2020, the Neil Howard Stages will return to its usual November date and be run for the second time this year in just 5 months time, once again at Oulton Park.

Words and photography by Rich Crawford